I don’t care what anyone says, this isn’t an overreaction. I think Ian Anderson will be one of the five best pitchers in the National League this season, and he may not be five, four, three, or two. This is obviously a bit of a knee-jerk reaction based on a small sample size, but there is no denying the poise that Anderson had on the mound. I always noted that he looked like a guy who had been pitching for eight seasons — not a 22-year-old with 32.1 MLB innings under his belt. Additionally, the kid is just filthy.
Ian Anderson, 88mph Changeup (swing/miss) and 94mph Fastball (Swinging K), Individual Pitches + Overlay. pic.twitter.com/YWONDl7Yxe
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 7, 2020
Ian Anderson, Nasty 80mph Curveball…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/n9sh4m6Zvs
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 13, 2020
His changeup is already one of the best in baseball, and his other plus offerings are just icing on the cake. While his microscopic ERA probably isn’t sustainable (I sure hope it is), his 2.54 FIP indicates that his blazing hot start was no fluke. Along with striking out 11.4 batters per nine innings, his walks per nine stayed very low for a pitcher his age. Speaking of which, his playoff debut was even more impressive.
Anderson only gave up TWO earned runs in 18.2 postseason innings and struck out his typical 11.5 batters per nine while stranding 90.5% of the runners he faced. Once again, his 2.23 FIP indicates that he wasn’t getting lucky — he was DOMINATING. He came out in a decisive Game 2 against the Reds and completely shut them down, allowing no runs over six innings while striking out nine. His encore performance was 5.2 innings against Miami, and the Fish had no answer as he sat down eight of them and gave up no runs again.
Anderson faltered a bit against the Dodgers, but in two games, he held his own for a young kid — only allowing two earned runs over seven innings while striking out seven. Although he didn’t give up any runs in their first matchup, five free passes doomed him from going deep into the game. Still, he kept his cool and only gave up one hit to go with those five walks.
Anderson has shown he doesn’t allow the spotlight to get to him, and while control can be an issue at times, he never loses his composure. That is so rare for a young pitcher, and his pure talent makes him even more unique. I think Anderson runs away with Rookie of the Year, and he makes a serious case to bring the Cy Young award back to Atlanta for the first time since 1998.